The Witch Elm by Tana French

Book Description:

Published: October 9, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life: he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

Review –

I was expecting so much more from this book but in the end it was a complete disappointment.

It takes so long to get to the main mystery, although I get the point of the lengthy build-up in order to understand Toby as a character – someone who has been handed everything in life without having to face the struggles others would have, and someone who cannot believe it when he meets his first misfortune – but that didn’t make it any more enjoyable to get through. It’s a good many chapters  before the main story even rears its head.

Unfortunately, too much time was wasted getting to this part. The story moved so slowly, I started getting a little fidgety. The plot became knotty and cumbersome, and the pace never picked up, tempting me to do the unthinkable- mark a Tana French novel down as a DNF, but I persevered.

There was not a lot of real action in this book and  listening to the characters  have pages and pages of  dialogue about something unrelated to the plot almost put me to sleep.

In the end, I plodded onward, but there was something seriously off about the book’s structure, and that ending was utterly depressing. Yes, one might have a different point of view on that, but I’m going with the glass half empty on this one. It just didn’t work for me. I gave it three stars but that was generous.

 

Home Tears by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Dani’s survived a lot of sh*t storms.

Her mother died. Her two sisters loathed her. One aunt hated her. The other was strangely distant, but the worst storm—being dumped by her childhood best friend/high school boyfriend/first love for her younger sister.

There went the one person who was hers and with that, the main reason she stuck around. So, she left for ten years. But now she’s back, and nothing’s the same.

With help from Jonah Bannon, a reformed—kind of—bad boy she remembers from high school, Dani uncovers family secrets that have spanned generations. And along with those, she’s about to face the biggest sh*t storm of her life.

Only this time, she may not survive.

Review –

Home Tears was a good read, but didn’t feel like a Tijan book. Her characters lacked depth and I felt a little disconnected with a few of them. First of all this is full of secrets and a few twists that I didn’t think needed to be throw in. But I really did like Dani.

Dani is the heroine of the story. She left home ten years ago running from herself, her family and her love. She was destroyed by those who were suppose to love her the most. She runs away to start over somewhere else and what does she do, she runs again. She has all these walls around her and most are understandable. But now that she has decided to come home, she’s gonna have to learn to let the past go and move on with her life. The town is shocked and it has caused some major upheaval because everyone thought she was dead and of course its a small town and everyone has an opinion.

This book was a messy stew of family secrets, sibling in-fighting, jilted lovers, epic storms and terrible tragedies and was filled to the very brim with flawed characters. I’m afraid there was just too much going on for my pea brain to handle because this book tired me out and not in that cathartic “cry your heart out” kind of way. Were it not an excellently narrated audio, I likely wouldn’t have finished it, just joking, I ALWAYS finish a book I start.

 

 

 

 

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Book Description:

Published: April 17, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

From New York Times Bestselling author Penelope Douglascomes a new forbidden love story…

JORDAN

He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.

He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.

Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.

I am.

PIKE

I took her in, because I thought I was helping.

She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.

As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

*BIRTHDAY GIRL is a stand-alone, contemporary romance suitable for ages 18+.

Review –

I’ve been saving this book to read this month because I am a Birthday Girl too. Oh, not like Jordan, I was just lucky enough to be born on the 17th of this month.

Anyway, I LOVED this book. It is a taboo, forbidden romance with a large age gap. It involved Jordan, nineteen, her boyfriend Cole, also nineteen and his father Pike, who is thirty-eight. Because of circumstances the teens have to move into Pike’s house while they save money to get another place of their own. There is immediate sexual chemistry between Pike and Jordan and the story is told in their dual POV.

Pike fights hard against the attraction and temptation of Jordan because of what people will think but more importantly of how it would affect his son. Jordan fights too but when Cole cheats on her, she sees it as the perfect chance to see what would happen if she gave in.

Eventually they both give in and start sleeping together and Cole finds out and there is a separation. I’m not going to give away the ending but know that I cried a bucket load of tears. AND, the epilogue …!

This book is Five Stars and if you love a good forbidden romance, this one should be on the top of your TBR list.

 

Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi

Book Description:

Published: March 6, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she’s got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?

Review –

The book picks off immediately off the last novel, and though the first seventy-five percent of the novel moves at a slow, turtle crawl, I actually understood the importance of the slow pace. Through the first seventy-five percent of the novel, Juliette scrambles around helplessly in confusion, adjusting to her new authority and workload. It would be awfully weird if Juliette seamlessly transitioned to an insane girl from the asylum that somehow managed to destroy the Supreme Commander of North America to a serious, responsible leader. She is so incredibly new to this crazy, tangled world that’s overflowing with treachery, politics, and issues. Being Supreme Commander is more than just fighting against rebellious forces constantly. It involves the intriguing, dark relationships between the most powerful leaders around the world. You can’t just waltz into one of the world’s most powerful positions and expect everything to be blood and glory. Instead, it’s a slow, sweet burn of painful deception and lies—-a wicked game played between the world’s most significant leaders.

Another thing that I particularly enjoyed about this novel was the reality check. In the first three books, Warner and Juliette have undeniable chemistry and quickly become infatuated with each other, but once that infatuation burns out, it’s time for the two sides of the relationship to truly understand each other. Finally, we get to see a more realistic side of Warner and Juliette’s relationship. They realize that besides the events that occurred in the pats month, they really don’t know much about each other. At times, it was indescribably painful to witness their conflicts, but at the same time, I relished them. After all the lustrous flirtations between the two of them in the past few novels, it was nice to see the other side of things. Love isn’t always going to be a smooth ride of infatuation and flirtations; you’re going to have to make an effort to know who this person is and what they stand for.

Finally, I loved the plot twist at the end. Even though I almost guessed it in the first few pages, the anticipation is slowly but steadily built up until the climax where everything comes crashing down. I LOVED it. Honestly, the cliffhanger puts all other cliffhangers to shame. I don’t want to say much, but reading the ending was probably one of those moments where everything that happened in the novel earlier is tied together beautifully into one giant package of astonishment.

Overall, this novel was fantastic, and I’m excited to see what the next two novels have in store for Juliette!

This series has mesmerizing covers and I love them all.

The Marco Effect (Department Q #5) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Book Description:

Published: September 9, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

All fifteen-year-old Marco Jameson wants is to become a Danish citizen and go to school like a normal teenager. But his uncle Zola rules his former gypsy clan with an iron fist. Revered as a god and feared as a devil, Zola forces the children of the clan to beg and steal for his personal gain. When Marco discovers a dead body—proving the true extent of Zola’s criminal activities—he goes on the run. But his family members aren’t the only ones who’ll go to any lengths to keep Marco silent . . . forever.

Meanwhile, the last thing Detective Carl Mørck needs is for his assistants, Assad and Rose, to pick up a missing persons case on a whim: Carl’s nemesis is his new boss, and he’s saddled Department Q with an unwelcome addition. But when they learn that a mysterious teen named Marco may have as much insight into the case as he has fear of the police, Carl is determined to solve the mystery and save the boy. Carl’s actions propel the trio into a case that extends from Denmark to Africa, from embezzlers to child soldiers, from seemingly petty crime rings to the very darkest of cover-ups.

Review –

“A Danish banking scam whose tentacles extend to Cameroon spells trouble for Department Q’s Carl Mørck and a young boy who gets caught in the crossfire.

It’s true: The coverup is always worse than the original problem.

If only William Stark hadn’t gotten suspicious about the ostensibly gibberish text message a Bantu development officer sent from Cameroon just before he vanished, René E. Eriksen, his boss at the Evaluation Department for Developmental Assistance, wouldn’t have had to send him off to Africa to investigate or assented to a shadowy banker’s order to have him murdered on his return. And if only Marco Jameson, a teenage beggar hiding from his uncle Zola, who planned to have him maimed to increase his daily take, hadn’t taken refuge in Stark’s grave, Zola wouldn’t be sending his young corps fanning out all over Copenhagen to find the boy before he can lead the police to the body Zola buried himself. Now Marco is frantically on the run. Eriksen and his old schoolmate and co-conspirator, banker Teis Snap, are headed for a major falling-out. And Carl, who’d be perfectly happy investigating the houseboat fire that claimed the life of Minna Virklund, wouldn’t have been sucked into a series of coverup murders that threaten to go on forever.

These are already tough times for Carl. His girlfriend, psychologist Mona Ibsen, heads off his marriage proposal by breaking up with him; Marcus Jacobsen, the generally supportive head of Copenhagen Homicide, has abruptly retired; and the new acting head, deputy commissioner Lars Bjørn, has saddled Carl with Gordon Taylor, a rookie still in law school, to ride herd on Department Q’s expenses, ruin Carl’s interrogations and report every minor infraction back to his patron. So all parties concerned can expect major drama.

If a scene works, Adler-Olsen never minds reprising it two or three times with minor variations. The result is a tale as big and sprawling as Carl’s first four cases but more diffuse, more like a TV miniseries than a feature film.” Kirkus Reviews

For some reason I can’t pinpoint, I didn’t like this installment of the Department Q series.  It was all a bit convoluted  and rambled a bit, but still a great read.

 

Gentleman Nine by Penelope Ward

 

Book Description:

Published: February 19, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Growing up, the three of us were friends.
He was the nerd.
I was the playboy.
She was the beauty.

Deep down, I only ever wanted her. I kept it inside because Rory and I made a pact that our friend, Amber, was off-limits.

He lied.

I went off to college, and he got the girl.
Amber never knew how I felt.
They were together for years—before he broke her heart.

Through it all and across the miles, she and I casually stayed in touch.
When my job sent me to Boston for a three-month contract position, Amber let me stay in her spare room.

Still reeling from her breakup, she’d sworn off men.
One night, I opened her computer to find the shock of my life. She’d hesitantly contacted a male escort company. Afraid to date and get her heart-broken again, she was looking for sex with no strings.

Every emotion imaginable ran through me: protectiveness, jealousy—curiosity.
Amber had chosen Gentleman Number Nine and sent him a message.
She opened up to him, confessing, among other things, her physical attraction to her friend—me. But she considered me off-limits—and she thought I was a manwhore. (Ironic, considering the circumstances.)

Eventually, she set up a date to meet Gentleman Nine at a hotel.
When she showed up several nights later to meet him, she was stunned to see me standing there—with an offer I hoped she wouldn’t refuse.

Review –

Channing and Amber were drawn to each after Channing’s younger sister and Amber’s best friend passed away, and they shared a deep connection and steadfast friendship. They were attracted to each, but neither allowed themselves to admit their feelings. Amber ended up in a long-term relationship with Rory, of Channing’s good friends, reinforcing his feelings that any kind of romantic relationship with her is off limits.

When Gentleman Nine begins, Amber’s relationship has just ended, and she is devastated and heartbroken. Channing is in town for business and staying at her house, and they rekindle their friendship, but they can no longer ignore the chemistry that is sizzling between them. Oh, they try to pretend it’s not there. Amber even contacts an escort agency in order to release some of her sexual frustration with a no-strings affair, but Channing discovers her intentions and offers to fill the position.

They agree to no-romance, sex only, no commitments, with the intention to keep their hearts safe. Easier said than done, because they both discover that their physical connection deepens their emotional connection. They’re falling for each other hard when neither expected it.

Amber and Channing’s feelings slowly build, and the meticulous unfurling of their love story pulls the reader in and keeps them captivated and anxious for the HEA. There’s an unexpected twist that is common in the writings of Penelope Ward and it adds depth to the story. Gentleman Nine is an engaging, tender and steamy friends-to-lovers romance with memorable characters and a truly unique story.

Loved it!   Just added Channing Lord to my Book Boyfriend list.

 

 

Finished

 

 

Finished

 

I’m over you

i never thought that it could happen

once and for all i’m over you

no more will my memories haunt me –

i won’t let them.

 

now i can speak your name and no

tears fall from my eyes

and if i chance to see you – i can pass you

off as just someone i once knew.

 

     we met, we loved, and now we’ve parted.

i’m not sad-

perhaps if we had met at a later time

things would have been different –

but we met too soon

we weren’t ready for love and now i know

that i wasn’t really ready either or –

else i was too ready.

 

written by me 9/3/1967

 

Dominated (The Enforcers #2) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published: May 3, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

To save her, he had to betray her…

In Drake’s shadowy world, his enemies would exploit any weakness he had in order to bring him to his knees, and so he’s never allowed himself to care about anyone…never exhibited any vulnerability, and it made him a force to be reckoned with. Until Evangeline—his angel. A woman who slipped past his defenses like no one had ever managed. She was his to protect and ultimately, to do that, he had to do the unthinkable and drive the only good thing in his world away.

But he will stop at nothing to get her back…

Devastated and destroyed, Evangeline doesn’t know what made Drake turn on her in such a shocking manner. She only knows she’ll never be the same. He once freed her from all her inhibitions, only now she is a prisoner to never-ending pain. But when Drake finds her again, she realizes there is more to his world than she ever imagined, and she must decide if she can once more trust—and submit—to the man who holds her wounded heart in his hands. And he must convince her of just how far he’ll go to regain her love and forgiveness.

Review –

Drake is dominant, powerful, alpha male feared by many and he’s surrounded by a group of other alpha males whom he considers to be brothers and enforcers. Drake prides himself on having no vulnerabilities or weaknesses, until he loses Evangeline in a bid to protect her.

Drake was going to hold a meeting at his apartment with unsavory men from a mafia-like group and to make sure Evangeline was no where around because if the men saw the way he looked at her they would see how much she meant to him and could use her to get to him.

Evangeline had no idea of the seriousness of this meeting and decided to surprise him by hosting it for him and when Drake came in with the other men in tow he about died. He had to think quick so he demeaned her with every foul word he could think of and treated her as if she were a prostitute off the street. Drake moves the meeting to his office and Evangeline packs a change of clothes and leaves. Her plan is to regroup before heading home, but Drake turns New York City upside down in his desperation to locate her. Drake’s men, especially Silas and Maddox, are also devoted to her.

Their relationship has had its ups and downs and while  Evangeline forgives Drake, she’s still not entirely sure of her place in his life. She also knows that there are many things that Drake isn’t telling her, such as the nature of his businesses. They do reconnect as he encourages her to voice her fears and concerns. Evangeline also challenges Drake to provide the domination she’s come to crave.

I won’t go into any spoilers but suffice it to say there is a HEA and it is a white-hot read/listen.

The next book in the series is KEPT and it is about Silas. I can’t wait to start it. He is a big, brooding, quiet man who is sexy as Hell!

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First Submission (Ranger Heat #1) by Caitlyn Lynch

Book Description:

Published: February 15,2016

Angry at her cheating boyfriend, Selina revisits an old haunt looking for distraction. She might have found a little more than she bargained for in the form of Brody, but the attraction between them is too sizzling hot to be denied!

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

The above is a very short concise blurb which, to me, doesn’t do this book justice.

Selina finds a receipt in her boyfriends jeans showing drinks at an upscale hotel, comforts him, and when he doesn’t deny the allegation, she leaves and ends up at a club she used to frequent BM (before Mark).

She dances, drinks a couple of beers and is hit upon by men, all of whom she rejects. Then along comes Brody and she can tell right away he’s different, by the way he’s dressed and his mannerism, she figures military. They kiss and eventually end up in a back room and have rough  hot sex. Brody senses Selina liked it rough and was very submissive. He’s only in this city tis morning so he asks her to come back to his hotel and she does. He assumes that she IS a submissive and he is a Dom so he’s anxious for the night to begin when he discovers she doesn’t realize she is a submissive so with her approval sets out to teach her the basics and in the morning Selina wakes up alone in the bed with a note that says “Look me up if you are ever in Savannah” and she thinks to herself “I wonder how far it is to Georgia?”  END

OMG!!! There is no way that I’m not reading the next one in the series. Brody is very hot, sinfully hot and Selina realizes that she’s been missing something in her relationship with Mark and I know she is going to end up in Georgia sooner than late.

Fast read, very steamy explicit sex scenes, not love scenes, just sex and I can see a great story line building into the second book. Can’t wait to start it.

Five stars *****

                               

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Asher’s Mark (Resolution Series #1) by Amy Durham

Book Description:

Published: August 24, 2014

Grace Ballard has been in love with Asher Howell for a long time. When she was sixteen, he became her hero, and she fell head over heels for the boy with a ring through his eyebrow, a big heart, and an unending sense of justice. But two years ago he left for college without a backward glance, leaving Grace to wonder if she’d imagined everything.

With no reason to wait for Asher to return, Grace moved on, and Asher’s brother, Adam, stepped in to help her pick up the pieces. But Asher never left her thoughts… or her heart.

Now, two years later, tragedy brings Asher home and back into Grace’s life. The boy who left her behind is now very much a man – a licensed tattoo artist, much to his parents’ dismay, and still carrying a major torch for Grace. But two years apart has changed them both, and the things that happened during their separation may create a divide that can’t be crossed.

Asher and his brother both left their mark on Grace’s heart. Will Asher’s be able to stand the test of time?

Review –

Such a wonderful story about young love, break-up,  tattoos,tragedy, guilt and true love.  It warmed my heart and the ending brought tears to my eyes.  I love it when a book does that.

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